I love creating index card art this way because I'm never behind. Instead of crafting a card-a-day (which I get tired of after the first couple of weeks,) I work on a week's worth of cards all at once for six days, adding background bits and bobs here and there as my fancy takes me and then, if I want, I finish the cards off with focal and accent images and clipped words on the seventh day. (The backgrounds themselves could become the "finished" card to be used in the future as is or embellished as needed.) I estimate that I work on the cards about 5 minutes total each day. On my "finishing" day, I can work anywhere from an hour to four depending on how easily ideas flow that day. In the end, these cards have lots of layers and interest with relatively little work. By turning over a large part of the process to serendipity, I lessen the stress that can arise from trying to keep up with the challenge.
I do admit that sometimes, I add my leftover paint to the cards in a carefully considered fashion; I make deliberate brush strokes and color combination decisions as I work and as the backgrounds build. For example, if a card has a big splotch of yellow from a previous palette cleaning, I might balance that with the addition of magenta or purple marks when those colors are leftover from a painting session. Lots of tiny marks? I'll balance that with a long swipe of paint. I suppose this sounds like it would take a lot of time but I work very, very fast, making rapid-fire decisions. That little remnant of magenta might be added thoughtfully to two cards and then haphazardly smeared on three others. I might also stop to scratch into the paint while it's wet (remember some of the cards I'm working with are glossy) or collage on some scraps of paper that are cluttering up my table.
My primary reason for participating in ICAD is to generate mini artworks to use in future work such as journaling. I believe that the more you use your own work/materials in your projects, the more unique your work becomes to you. This means using paper I've hand-painted, creating my own collage sheets, photocopying old journal pages, carving my own stamps, cutting my own stencils, hand-lettering, using my own photos. There's too many fabulous goodies out there for me to be 100% free of outside sources but over the years, I've developed my own look by repurposing old work into new work and by creating some of my own tools. Does it mean more work? Yes, initally. It is much easier to go shopping, fill up my basket with the latest and greatest manufacturers think I need, and then....well, honestly...then I come home, store it away in the appropriate container, and forget I have it. I'm a gatherer; I love new ideas and I love the potential I see in new supplies. I adore starting things but finishing? Not so much. That part takes real effort. By creating my own materials and tools, I stay more focused and invested in the project and as a bonus, more of me, my hands, head, and heart are visible in the work.
And speaking of hearts...that sacred heart index card (top left in last photo) is probably my favorite ICAD ever. I hand-painted a stamped flaming heart that I carved years ago. Then, as I was sorting through a pile of clipped words, "LOST" randomly fell across the card and I said "Ohhhh..." So perfect. That simple card holds so much meaning for me.